The fifth set of games in the Sport Corner Siam Hockey League (SHL) 2017-2018 season took place on Sunday November 26th. The first contest saw Expedia beat AWARE 5-1, while the second match saw Hertz knock a huge monkey off its back by beating the Sukhumvit Spitfires 5-2 for their first victory of the season.
AWARE was missing speedster Corry Day and slick playmaker Jouni Heinonen, while Expedia was missing stellar defenseman Jari Eerikainen but neither team elected to reach out for substitute players.
John Schachnovsky, the defending SHL scoring champion, had two goals (his third and fourth of the season) and an assist on the night while Jordan Ashton, who scored six times in the last game (five in one period), continued his scoring tear with a goal giving him a league-leading nine on the season. Remo Nyffenegger and captain Mike Wilson added singles for Expedia, their second and third of the season, respectively, while AWARE’s lone tally came from Ryan Yaden, his first of the year.
AWARE’s Gabor Toth stopped 28 of the 33 shots he faced while Expedia’s Yves Gaboriault, was selected the Rolling Stone Pizza player of the game as he turned back 34 of the 35 shots he faced during the game, making a number of key saves at crucial times throughout the contest.
While the shots in the game were almost even it’s become obvious that Expedia’s snipers don’t miss when they get the chance. No team boasts a set of marksmen like’s Expedia’s Schachnovsky, Wilson, Ashton and Juhani Ijas. And when those four are on the ice together, they just control the play. Future Expedia opponents are going to have to bear down and capitalize on their chances, because Expedia will waste no time capitalizing on theirs. Ashton and Ijas sit tied for first place in the scoring race with nine points each.
Game two saw Hertz finally win their first game of the season, much to the relief of SHL administration. Rumours abounded about a major trade prior to puck drop as Hertz had lost four straight games. But it looks like all the team was missing were their two Swedish players, Peter Borgesson and Kim Lidberg, who due to work and travel commitments had yet to play a single game this season.
From the outset, Hertz did not look like a team that hadn’t won a game. They came out flying, were hungry and took advantage of the scoring opportunities they earned. Brandon Vick, the third leading scorer in the SHL last year when he was with AWARE, broke out and scored his first two goals of the season; Bill Bredesen scored his fourth of the season; captain Justin St. Denis nailed his second goal of the season and Lidberg, in his SHL debut, scored a goal and an assist.
Tan Limpinphet (his second of the year) and Harrison Oztemel (5th of the season) scored for Sukhumvit who were missing Michael White, Dave McBurney and Jason Bitter. Spitfire veteran Scott Murray delivered a horrible drop pass that Hertz intercepted and turned into a goal, giving them an early 2-0 lead as Sukhumvit was trying to sway the momentum away from Hertz.
Even though Thai National team captain Tewin “Thor” Chartsuwan did notch two assists, he lost his first game of the season. He had won the previous three times he had subbed with Sukhumvit as well as the one game he had substituted for AWARE, ironically against Sukhumvit.
Hertz’s Lance Parker won the Rolling Stone Pizza player of the game in the evening’s second contest and deservedly so. After being shell-shocked in an 11-1 loss to Expedia just a few days earlier, Lance stood on his head and made a number of terrific saves. This was all the more remarkable because he was throwing up repeatedly before the game due to stomach flu. Lance stopped 24 shots on the night, while his counterpart in the Sukhumvit net stopped 25 of the shots fired his way.
The season resumes Sunday December 3rd with AWARE going against Hertz at 8:30pm and the Spitfires playing Expedia at 9:30. Admission is free and all games take place at the Rink, 7th floor, Central Grand Rama IX (Photography by Tadamasa Nagayma).
For more information on the SHL check out Dom Dumais great podcasts and interviews with SHL players.